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Alliance for Community Trees Day

November 19, 2019

Presented by: The Arbor Day Foundation

Event Information

The trees that make up our communities also inspire us to work together to change our cities and towns for the better. Not only are trees at the heart of our missions, but they keep us connected throughout the year as we learn and grow together, as a network. Together we’re inspiring new tree planters and planting more trees than ever before. Alone, in our communities, we can do so little. But working together, as a network, we can do so much. Knowing that we’re stronger together will allow us to continue raising the awareness of trees as a solution to some of the world’s most pressing issues. For over 25 years Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) members have planted and cared for trees, changing the landscape of our community habitat. Join us this year at ACT Day to network, learn, and be inspired by members and other industry professionals as we strengthen this network and industry – together.

This meeting offers:

  • Peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Networking
  • Educational sessions


date November 19, 2019

  • 7:00–8:00 a.m. Breakfast
  • 8:00–8:15 a.m. Welcome
    Matt Spitsen, Arbor Day Foundation
    View Slides
  • 8:15–8:45 a.m. Growing the Nation’s Forests: Engaging in Policy and Partnerships at the National Level

    National level resources for urban and community forestry can help you protect and grow the trees outside your front door, but how federal policies, programs and budgets fit together and flow to on-the-ground projects can be challenging to understand. This presentation will teach you how the Executive and Legislative branches of the United States Government set policy and spending levels, how partners are working together at the National level to support the work you do, and how you can plug in to these critical processes and networks. You will walk away from this presentation with a better picture of how you and your organization can leverage a diverse network of partners in Urban & Community Forestry across the nation.

    Lauren Marshall, National Program Manager, Urban and Community Forestry, USDA Forest Service
    Healthy ecosystems and thoughtful, collaboratively designed places improve people’s lives. This is the central tenet that drives Lauren Marshall’s career as a professional landscape architect, certified arborist and the National Program Manager for Urban & Community Forestry with the U.S. Forest Service. She helps people weave natural infrastructure into the fabric of their communities, connecting them to the natural world from the tree outside of their front door that shades their sidewalk to the National Forest that provides their drinking water. She received a Bachelor of Science in Plant Sciences from Cornell University, and her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan.
    View Slides
  • 8:45–9:15 a.m. The Keys to the City: Turning Local Officials into Tree Huggers

    The relationship you have with your local government officials can make or break your tree program. This interactive presentation will give you practical tips and tools that can help you get decision makers on your side. Learn how to talk to elected officials about trees, and how to make them advocates on your behalf. Understand what their concerns are and learn "Intro to government-speak 101." Presented by the director of Cuyahoga ReLeaf, who also serves on her City Council, this session will help you, and your tree projects, grow.

    Jane Goodman, Executive Director, Cuyahoga River Restoration
    Jane Goodman is Executive Director of Cuyahoga River Restoration and developed the Cuyahoga ReLeaf tree program in 2006 as an essential element of stream stewardship and stormwater management. To date the Cuyahoga ReLeaf program has planted more than 1,000 trees and given away 1,700 trees. She has served as a member of her city's Tree Commission since 1993. In 1996, while serving as outreach and education director at Clean-Land, Ohio/Parkworks, she developed Citizen Forester and Student Forester programs as part of Cleveland's bicentennial Trees for Tomorrow initiative. She produced the Woods for Watersheds guide, and managed a regional urban tree canopy and community tree ordinance assessment project. Jane is also in her 14th year serving on City Council in South Euclid, a first-tier suburb of Cleveland known for its green initiatives. While on Council she has spearheaded several greening projects, including the conversion of a 9-acre stormwater basin into a functioning wetland; development of the first green infrastructure demonstration retail center, and conversion of 22 acres of a former golf course as a nature preserve. She also serves on the National League of Cities' Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Federal Advocacy Committee, working with colleagues across the country and congressional leaders on national policy.
    View Slides
  • 9:15–9:45 a.m. Creating Community Greening

    Community Greening, based in Delray Beach, Florida, was founded in 2016 and is quickly expanding services in Palm Beach County. They have successfully modeled their programming after the best practices of ACT members to create an urban forestry non-profit that is gaining attention, support, and influence in South Florida. The organization partners with residents, non-profits, city governments, and corporations to plant trees and build community. They attribute their rapid growth to taking risks with a start-up mentality while learning from the mentors and veterans of the ACT network. Mark and Matt will discuss their board development, staffing practices, marketing efforts, strategic planning, and their long-term vision for the organization.

    Mark Cassini and Matt Shipley, Co-Directors, Community Greening
    Mark Cassini is from Indianapolis, Indiana where he spent his childhood days immersed in nature at the creek catching fish and snakes. Mark has created a diverse non-profit career including international work in Nairobi, Kenya and Florence, Italy. He has an M.A. in International Studies & Intercultural Relations from the University of the Pacific and graduated from Indiana University with a B.A., majoring in Cultural Anthropology. He lives in Delray Beach, Florida with his wife and four children.

    Matt Shipley is a third-generation South Floridan and was surfing by the time he could stand. Matt was always inspired by nature which drove him to study environmental issues at the University of San Diego. After receiving his B.A. in Spanish and Environmental Studies, Matt joined the Peace Corps. He served in Paraguay as an environmental educator where he organized community-led reforestation efforts. Upon completing his service, Matt went back to California to receive an M.A. in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He is a recent graduate of the Municipal Forestry Institute and became an ISA Certified Arborist in 2017.
    View Slides
  • 9:45–10:30 a.m. Robots Make Bad Fundraisers – How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age

    In some ways, we’re in a golden age of fundraising. There have never been more ways to capture attention, rally supporters, generate revenue, and measure fundraising performance than there are today. The accessibility of this technology has also never been greater, even to the smallest charities. But with all the software, tools, apps and intelligence available to us, why has fundraising performance stagnated? Has technology actually gotten in the way of building a personal connection with our supporters? In this session, we’ll explore ways to apply time-tested principles of philanthropy to the modern technology available to fundraisers — with the goal of keeping the donors we already have, inspiring new donors to give, and maintaining the sanity of our team members.

    Steven Shattuck, Chief Engagement Officer, Bloomerang
    Steven Shattuck is the Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world. A prolific writer and speaker, Steven curates Bloomerang’s sector-leading educational content, and hosts their weekly webinar series which features the top thought-leaders in the nonprofit sector. He got his start in the nonprofit sector producing fundraising videos and other digital content for organizations like Butler University, Girl Scouts, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Heart Association. He is also an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.

    Steven has contributed content to the National Council of Nonprofits, AFP, NTEN and Nonprofit Hub, and is a frequent conference speaker, having spoken at AFP International, NAYDO, Cause Camp, ADRP, the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, and Planet Philanthropy to name a few. He is a co-author of Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition.
    View Slides
  • 10:30–11:00 a.m. Break
  • 11:00–11:25 a.m. Mentor Exchange Lightning Round:
    Anna Dooley, Executive Director, Greenscape of Jacksonville
    Anna Dooley is Executive Director of Greenscape of Jacksonville, Inc. Under her leadership, Greenscape has excelled as a community tree planting organization, earning numerous local, state and national awards and increasing the tree canopy of Jacksonville by over 350,000 trees.

    Ms. Dooley entered the nonprofit sector in the way many do, by volunteer work. She sat on the Board of Greenscape prior to assuming the role of Executive Director in 1997. Her background includes fifteen years with The Charter Company as well as Public Relations Director of the Museum of Science and History.

    She is Past President of the Florida Urban Forestry Council and served on the Executive Committee of the National Alliance of Community Trees. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board's award for Outstanding Individual and was named 2007 Individual of the Year by Trees For Florida.

    She is an active volunteer and chaired a season of Florida Forum presented by the Women's Board of Wolfson Children's Hospital. She is the past chair of the Opening Night Party for the Jacksonville Film Festival. She serves on the Executive Committee of UF Health Trauma One Night of Heroes. She is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2000 and has served on several mayoral appointed committees. She is also Past Chair of the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission. In 2013 Governor Scott named her Commissioner of the State of Florida Environmental Regulations Commission. Recent accomplishments include the prestigious 2016 Lawrence Enerson Award for outstanding individual service to Urban Forestry from The National Arbor Day Foundation.
    View Slides
    David Meshoulam, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Speak for the Trees
    David (pronounced Dah-veed) is a reborn tree hugger and social and environmental entrepreneur focused on building a stronger and healthier Boston through trees and community. Previous to founding SFTT, David was a science educator for the 15 years at the high school and college levels. He brings expertise in having youth see and understand connections between science, culture, and history. He has created innovative interdisciplinary courses in science: in Boston and Watertown he developed two teen tree engagement programs ad at Newton North High School he co-developed an interdisciplinary course called Science in Society. He also teaches graduate level courses in science education at Boston College, Northeastern University and Boston University.
    View Slides
    Dana Coelho, Alliance Director, Metro Denver Nature Alliance
    Dana Coelho came on board as Director of the Metro Denver Nature Alliance in May 2018 after an 11-year career with the US Forest Service. Most recently she served as Urban & Community Forestry Program Manager for the Rocky Mountain Region, working with partners in CO, WY, SD, NE, and KS to build vibrant local community forestry programs. She earned her masters degrees in Environmental Policy and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia.
    View Slides
  • 11:25–11:40 a.m. New Funding for Urban Forest Projects Through Carbon Credits or Sustainability Certification

    This presentation will describe the work of the non-profit City Forest Credits as it enables local tree planting and preservation projects to earn and sell carbon credits or obtain sustainability certification. You will hear about specific projects and programs that have launched, how they work, and the challenges and opportunities for you to consider for your organization.

    Mark McPherson, Executive Director, City Forest Credits
    Mark is the Executive Director of City Forest Credits. Mark is a lawyer and business person and has been active in urban forestry for many years. He drafted the first conservation easement for the City of Seattle Heritage Tree Program over 25 years ago. He received a Founder’s Award from a tree preservation group in Seattle for his legal work in many tree cases. For the ten years prior to founding this non-profit organization, Mark managed a business and co-founded a website. He was a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill and has a Ph.D. and law degree from Harvard.

    Mark and several members of the drafting group below served on the work group at the Climate Action Reserve in 2013-14 that developed an urban forest carbon protocol.
    View Slides
  • 11:40 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Forests for Floodplains: Large-Scale Reforestation for Carbon+ Credit Trading

    TreeFolks is one of The Nature Conservancy's Natural Climate Solutions grant winners. This presentation will introduce and update audience on the Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program and the Carbon Credit trading component of it.

    Valerie Tamburri, Reforestation Coordinator, TreeFolks
    Andreina (Ina) was born in Venezuela and has spent the greater part of her life in Texas. She earned both BA and Master’s of Applied Geography degree from Texas State University with a focus on Resource and Environmental Studies. Her passions include ecology and healthy ecosystem functioning, particularly that of stream and ocean networks. ISA Certified Arborist and certified (4x) in Texas Stream and Ecosystem Restoration from the Texas Riparian Association.
    View Slides
  • 12:00–1:15 p.m. Lunch
  • 1:15–1:50 p.m. Mentor Exchange Lightning Round:
    Wai Lee, Executive Director, Smart Trees Pacific
    Wai Lee is the Executive Director of Smart Trees Pacific and has been with the organization since 2008. He began his love of trees when he was the project manager for both Urban Tree Canopy Assessment studies. Later he managed the water quality study at the Kailua rain garden project at American Saving Bank and was a part of the research team looking at the comparative effectiveness of native trees in rain gardens. He also helped with the formation of the Citizen Forester project in 2016.

    Wai earned his BS, MBA, and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
    View Slides
    Leah Jean Shafer, Program Manager, The Park People
    Leah earned her Master's degree in Landscape Architecture (University of Colorado Denver) and bachelor's in Environmental Studies (University of Colorado Boulder). Her strong interdisciplinary background includes local and international experience in resource conservation, arboriculture, landscape design, volunteer management, and community engagement. Having worked in both non-profit and commercial settings, she maintains USGBC LEED accreditation as well as her Master Gardener Certificate. Dedicated to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and community development, she is particularly passionate about community well-being and increasing our urban tree canopy. A life-long outdoor enthusiast and Colorado native, she enjoys hiking, travelling, skiing, homebrewing, gardening, tree-gazing, and exploring our beautiful planet.

    Leah is delighted to manage the Denver Digs Trees and Community Forester programs as well as various neighborhood-specific projects including Greener, Healthier Globeville Elyria-Swansea. The 35+ year-old, city-wide Denver Digs Trees program provides free and low-cost trees to residents throughout the city and county. The Community Forester program trains volunteers to be stewards of the urban tree canopy and empowers them to lead tree planting and care activities in the community. Community-led projects such as Greener, Healthier Globeville-Eylria Swansea focus on resident engagement in visioning, defining, and implementing greening projects in their neighborhood.
    View Slides
    Paulina Vu, Program Manager, Trees Matter
    Paulina is the Program Manager for Trees Matter, a Greater Phoenix-based non-profit looking to inspire and promote an increased tree canopy in the Valley. She was born in Arizona and graduated with a concurrent degree in Sustainability and Global Studies at Arizona State University. Her interest in sustainability in a local and global stage has led her to various projects, volunteering, and internships with organizations such as the Gaia Association, The International Rescue Committee, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Paulina is passionate about community engagement, and is excited to work towards a healthier, happier Phoenix. Fun fact: While at ASU, she was an intern for Trees Matter and is thrilled to be working for Trees Matter as their Program Manager today. She has always been in awe of nature and loves to hike, take photos, travel, and board games in her free time. Her favorite tree is the Hong Kong Orchid.
    View Slides
    Amy May, Executive Director, TreeUtah
    Amy May is the Executive Director of TreeUtah, a statewide nonprofit that plants over 10,000 trees with over 3000 volunteers per year. In 2001 she started out volunteering with TreeUtah, and became director in 2017. She has worked as a professional fundraiser in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. When she’s not at work, you can find her on a trail or in her neighborhood permaculture garden and orchard.
    View Slides
  • 1:50–2:05 p.m. Earth Day 2020: How to Plant Tens of Thousands of Trees with Volunteers in One Week

    Since 2007, Green Columbus has been organizing one of the largest Earth Day volunteer service projects in the country every year. Central Ohio has benefited from more than 130,000 hours of “green” citizen service and over 130,000 seedling trees over the years, thanks to Green Columbus’ efforts. 2020 will be the 50th anniversary for Earth Day and we plan on planting 50,000 trees. We want to share how small groups can do a lot with local partners and many volunteers.

    Claus Eckert, Executive Director, Green Columbus
    Claus Eckert is the Executive Director of Green Columbus. Since 2016 he raised over $500,000 in grants, cash and in-kind donations, including money for 48,000 tree seedlings and over 400 large trees. He continues to bring tree related pilot projects to Columbus. He developed successful national partnerships with American Forests and Arbor Day Foundation, bringing over $80,000 in national grants to tree planting programs. In collaboration with his board, he is also the organizer of Earth Day Columbus, the largest volunteer driven Earth Day service event in the country and Green Drinks, a monthly networking and information education event in Columbus. He has an MBA from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University.
    View Slides
  • 2:05–2:20 p.m. Budding Arborists: Openlands Forestry Training Program

    The Forestry Team at Openlands supports the organization’s mission of connecting people with nature by educating, planting and strengthening community around trees. Since 2013, Openlands tree planting events have planted over 5,000 trees in the Chicagoland region and built advocates for trees in the process. Another way of building advocates and promoting a healthy urban canopy is through a seasonal field crew, where seasonal employees are hired to maintain existing trees and assist with planting events. In 2018, Openlands Forestry piloted a Training Program, where the seasonal staff on the Forestry Crew are trained in hands-on arboriculture skills and practices, given professional development opportunities and educational enrichment trainings and classes, with the goal of having a better understanding of the tree care and conservation industries in the Chicago region. This presentation will discuss how Openlands came to create this program, framework and objectives of the program and the future of urban forestry at Openlands and in Chicago.

    Katie Fleming, Forestry Program Manager: Training & Field Operations, Openlands
    Katie joined Openlands in 2018 as the Forestry Crew Leader and has since developed and implemented the Forestry Training Program, leading Forestry Trainees in hands-on urban forestry skills and field maintenance, as well as providing professional development and educational opportunities over an 8-month season. She plans and coordinates field maintenance and data collection throughout the Chicago region and assists in overseeing volunteers at community tree plantings, workshops and stewardship days. Katie is a ISA Certified Arborist, a TreeKeeper and loves spending time outside, conserving Illinois ecosystems, and getting local communities involved.
    View Slides
  • 2:20–2:35 p.m. The Great Oak Count and The OakWell Survey: Comprehensive Surveys of Palo Alto’s Native Oaks

    Come learn about an innovative and exciting program that brings oak care tips to the public, engaging opportunities for citizen scientists, and big environmental answers to the land managers who need it most. About 20 years ago Canopy volunteers surveyed over 9000 oak trees across Palo Alto, providing a unique and valuable data set. We are now updating this inventory of oaks, on public and private property, with volunteers surveying with our online tree map. Updating this survey will help us understand changes to the oak tree population across the city, and influence future decisions around advocacy and re-oaking efforts.

    Elise Willis, Community Forestry Manager, Canopy
    Elise Willis is a Certified Arborist and Community Forestry Manager at Canopy, a nonprofit based in Palo Alto, CA, where she manages several tree survey, planting, and community engagement programs. With previous urban forestry experience she also holds a working knowledge of strategies to reduce tree and infrastructure conflicts, and how to prioritize trees during development. She has a B.S. in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida, is a Municipal Forestry Institute alum, and infuses creativity and drawing skills into many Canopy activities.
    View Slides
  • 2:35–3:05 p.m. Break
  • 3:05–4:30 p.m. Panel: Equity, Diversity and Workforce Development
    Facilitator: Danielle Crumrine, Executive Director, Tree Pittsburgh
    For nearly 20 years, Danielle has worked in various capacities in the Pittsburgh environmental community. She has served as Tree Pittsburgh’s Executive Director for 12 years where she has led the organization through significant growth — including their current effort to transform a former steel mill site into Tree Pittsburgh’s headquarters, which includes a tree nursery, education center, and office building. Prior to joining Tree Pittsburgh in 2007, she was the founding Board President and Executive Director of Allegheny CleanWays, a group dedicated to empowering people to fight illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County. Danielle is currently a Trustee at the Arbor Day Foundation.
    Travys Harper, Trees Atlanta
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    Jack Braunstein, TreePhilly
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    Elizabeth Jauregui, City Plants
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  • 4:30–5:00 p.m. Special Event
  • 5:00–5:10 p.m. Closing Thoughts
    Karen Zumach, Director of Community Forestry, Tree Trust
    Karen Zumach is the Director of Community Forestry for Tree Trust, a Twin-Cities (MN)-based nonprofit that has been transforming lives and landscapes for the past 43 years. Her work includes finding forever homes for nearly 3,500 trees per year on public and private land. Green roofs were her gateway to green infrastructure and trees are where she found her true passion. She holds a bachelor's degree in both geology and horticulture, both from the University of Connecticut. While not (yet) native to Minnesota, her favorite tree is Oxydendrum arboreum.
  • 5:10–6:10 p.m. Social Hour & Corona Tools Awards